AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Heart Disease / 23.04.2014

Emilie Jouanjus, PharmD, PhD Risques, maladies chroniques et handicaps Facult_e de M_edecine, Guesde, Toulouse 31073, France.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emilie Jouanjus, PharmD, PhD Risques, maladies chroniques et handicaps Facult_e de M_edecine, Guesde, Toulouse 31073, France. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Jouanjus: Our study emphasizes that cardiovascular complications make up 1.8 percent of cannabis-related health complications reported in France. These were cases of peripheral arteriopathies, and cardiac and cerebrovascular disorders, some of which resulted in the death. These findings conducted us to conclude that marijuana is a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease in young adults. (more…)
Addiction, Frailty, Geriatrics, JAMA, Pharmacology / 15.04.2014

Cara Tannenbaum, MD, MSc The Michel Saucier Endowed Chair in Geriatric Pharmacology, Health and Aging La Chaire pharmaceutique Michel-Saucier en santé et vieillissement Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy University of Montreal Centre de Recherche Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal Montreal, QC MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cara Tannenbaum, MD, MSc The Michel Saucier Endowed Chair in Geriatric Pharmacology, Health and Aging,Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy University of Montreal Centre de Recherche Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal Montreal, QC MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Tannenbaum: The EMPOWER study showed that providing older patients with information about the harms of sleeping pill use led to discontinuation or dose reduction in 1-in-every 4 patients with longstanding use of benzodiazepines. Receipt of evidence-based information about drug harms resulted in a 8-fold higher likelihood of benzodiazepine cessation. Many physicians think that patients become too dependent on sedative-hypnotics to successfully discontinue. Regardless of age, sex, and duration of use, 27% of patients aged 65-95 in this study successfully completed the recommended 20-week tapering protocol during a 6-month time period and another 11% were in the process of tapering. EMPOWERing patients with evidence-based information therefore results in appropriate risk reduction. (more…)
Alcohol, Cognitive Issues, Neurology / 25.03.2014

Osvaldo P. Almeida, MD, PhD, FRANZCP, FFPOA Professor & Winthrop Chair of Geriatric Psychiatry | School of Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences | University of Western Australia. Director of Research | Western Australian Centre for Health & Ageing | Centre for Medical Research | Western Australian Institute for Medical Research. Consultant | Department of Psychiatry | Royal Perth Hospital. Australia.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Osvaldo P. Almeida, MD, PhD, FRANZCP, FFPOA Professor & Winthrop Chair of Geriatric Psychiatry | School of Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences | University of Western Australia. Consultant | Department of Psychiatry | Royal Perth Hospital. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of this study? Prof. Almeida: This study used the principles of Mendelian randomisation to clarify whether alcohol use is a direct cause of cognitive impairment in later life. The rationale behind this approach is that the genetic variation associated with lower risk of alcohol abuse or dependence should also be associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment if alcohol misuse is a direct cause cognitive impairment. We found no evidence for such an association. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Pain Research, Pharmacology / 16.03.2014

Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi PharmD, MD1MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi PharmD, MD The Department of Emergency Medicine, The George Washington University The Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found a significant increase in the prescribing of opioid pain medications in the emergency department. At the same time, this was not accounted for by a similar increase in pain-related visits and prescribing patterns of non-opioid analgesics did not change. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, OBGYNE / 12.03.2014

Camilla Nykjaer, PhD Student School of Food Science and Nutrition University of Leeds, Leeds, UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Camilla Nykjaer, PhD Student School of Food Science and Nutrition University of Leeds, Leeds, UK   MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: In our study, there was an association between the mother drinking alcohol during early pregnancy and being born preterm or small for gestational age. Babies of women who drank more than 2 units of alcohol per week in the first trimester were more likely to be born preterm, small for gestational age and with lower birth weight compared to non-drinkers, even after adjusting for a range of confounders including cotinine levels as a biomarker for smoking status. The association with preterm birth was present even in those mothers who reported drinking less than 2 units/week. (more…)
Addiction, Opiods, Orthopedics, Pharmacology, Surgical Research / 11.03.2014

Brent J. Morris, M.D. Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Fellowship Texas Orthopaedic Hospital in affiliation with the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, Houston, TexasMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brent J. Morris, M.D. Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Fellowship Texas Orthopaedic Hospital in affiliation with the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, Houston, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

 Dr. Morris: There are concerns that an increasing percentage of patients are receiving narcotics by “doctor shopping” or seeking narcotics from multiple providers. One in five of our postoperative orthopedic trauma patients received narcotics from one or more additional providers other than the treating surgeon. Patients that doctor-shopped postoperatively had a significant increase in narcotic prescriptions, duration of narcotics, and morphine equivalent dose per day. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, CMAJ / 11.03.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Dagmar Haller, MD, PhD Médecin adjointe agrégée Unité Santé Jeunes Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève Suisse MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Haller: One year after a consultation with a family doctor there was a 28% reduction in the proportion of excessive substance users among those who had reported excessive use at the start of the study but there was no significant difference between the group that received counseling and the one that did not. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, McGill, Rheumatology / 04.03.2014

Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, MB, ChB, MRCP(UK), FRCP(C) McGill University Health Centre Division of Rheumatology and Alan Edwards Pain Management UnitMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, MB, ChB, MRCP(UK), FRCP(C) McGill University Health Centre Division of Rheumatology and Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit MedicalResearch.com: What are the highlights of your review? Dr. Fitzcharles: Thank you for your interest in the review article which will shortly be published in Arthritis Care & Research. This was not a research study but rather a review focused towards the use of herbal cannabis for patients with rheumatic diseases. The essence of our message after a thorough review of the literature is that there is not a single study published regarding efficacy or side effects of herbal cannabis in the rheumatic diseases. It is notable that almost 2 thirds of persons using herbal cannabis for therapeutic reasons report use for musculoskeletal complaints. In the 21st century, we cannot rely upon heresay or anecdote to justify use of a treatment intervention. It is unacceptable to recommend use of a substance without knowledge of concentration of molecules in the product, any knowledge of blood concentrations that might have a positive or negative effect, and formal study in defined patient populations with acceptable endpoint criteria and evidence for short and long term risks. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, PLoS / 18.02.2014

MedicalResearch.com: Interview with: Sylvia Lui Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre The University of Manchester MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: The research shows women who drink alcohol at moderate or heavy levels in the early stages of their pregnancy might damage the growth and function of their placenta – the organ responsible for supplying everything that a developing infant needs until birth (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, University of Pennsylvania / 14.02.2014

Henry R. Kranzler, MD Professor, Department of Psychiatry Director of the Center for Studies of Addiction. University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, PhiladelphiaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Henry R. Kranzler, MD Professor, Department of Psychiatry Director of the Center for Studies of Addiction. University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Kranzler: The study had two main findings:
  • First, topiramate, at a maximal dosage of 200 mg/day, which is lower than the 300 mg/day used in prior treatment trials, substantially reduced the frequency of heavy drinking and increased the frequency of abstinent days more than placebo. The lower dosage was well tolerated.
  • Second, a variant in a gene that encodes a receptor subunit that binds topiramate moderated the response to topiramate. That is, C-allele homozygotes in the single nucleotide polymorphism rs2832407 in GRIK1, the gene encoding the GluK1 subunit of the kainate receptor, were the subgroup that accounted for the effects of topiramate on heavy drinking. This has important implications for the personalized treatment of alcohol use disorder, in that 40% of people of European ancestry have this genotype and, if confirmed, these findings would make it possible to screen people genetically to select an effective treatment.
(more…)
Addiction, BMJ, Tobacco Research / 13.02.2014

dr_jenny_hatchardMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Jenny L Hatchard University of Bath and UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Hatchard: Our study found that global tobacco companies’ claims that standardised packaging ‘won’t work’ should be viewed sceptically. The aim of standardised packaging, with no logos, brand imagery, symbols, or promotional text, is to restrict the already limited opportunities that tobacco companies have to market their products, and deter people from starting smoking. It was introduced in Australia in 2012 and the UK Government is currently considering following suit. We analysed the evidence cited by four global tobacco companies in their lengthy responses (1521 pages in total) to a recent UK Government consultation on standardised packaging for cigarettes. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Lancet / 10.02.2014

Dr John Holmes PhD, MA, BA (Hons) (York) Section of Public Health, ScHARR, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DA, UKMedicalResearch.com with: Dr John Holmes PhD, MA, BA (Hons) (York) Section of Public Health, ScHARR, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Holmes: The study aimed to examine which groups in society would be affected by a 45p minimum unit price for alcohol.  This was in response to concerns expressed by, among others, the UK Government that the policy may not tackle harmful drinking and may penalise responsible drinkers. We found no support for these concerns.  As the policy targets the cheap alcohol which is disproportionately purchased by those drinking at harmful levels, the effects are mainly felt by those at greatest risk of suffering harm from their drinking.  On the other hand, moderate drinkers, including those on low incomes, buy very little of this cheap alcohol so are relatively unaffected. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Cannabis / 03.02.2014

Joanne E. Brady SM Senior Staff Associate Department of Anesthesiology Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology Columbia University Medical Center New York, NY 10032MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanne E. Brady SM Senior Staff Associate Department of Anesthesiology Doctoral Candidate in Epidemiology Columbia University Medical Center New York, NY 10032 Department of Epidemiology, Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: The prevalence of non-alcohol drugs detected in fatally injured drivers in the U.S. increased from 17% in 1999 to 28% in 2010.  The increases are largely driven by the tripling in the prevalence of cannabis. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 21.01.2014

David J. Allsop, PhD National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine Now with the School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: David J. Allsop, PhD National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine Now with the School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Allsop: We found that administering a botanical preparation of the cannabinoids Tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC - the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) and Cannabidiol (a lesser known component of the cannabis plant that counteracts the psychotogenic effects of THC with anxiolytic properties) to dependent cannabis smokers during initial abstinence from cannabis substantially dampened their withdrawal experience. In essence this is akin to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) but for cannabis users. It might seem obvious - sure you give cannabis users a cannabis preparation and they find it easier to quit - but this is important because it has never been done before - and we currently have no consensus evidence based medicines to offer cannabis users who ask for help. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, General Medicine, Karolinski Institute / 17.01.2014

Andrea Bellavia MSc Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, SwedenMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrea Bellavia MSc Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden Dr. Montgomery: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We evaluated for 15 years a cohort of Swedish men and women and observed, after taking into account various socio-demographic, dietary, and lifestyle factors, that a low daily consumption of alcoholic beverages is tied with longer survival. (more…)
Alcohol / 16.01.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Séverine Sabia, PhD Epidemiology & Public Health, Div of Population Health University College London - Gower Street - London MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Sabia: The present study shows a detrimental effect of heavy alcohol consumption on cognitive ageing, and the effects are seen as early as 55 years old. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 16.01.2014

Professor Karen Hughes Professor in Behavioural Epidemiology Centre for Public Health Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool L3 2ETMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Karen Hughes Professor in Behavioural Epidemiology Centre for Public Health Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool L3 2ET MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We used trained actors to test whether servers in pubs, bars and nightclubs would sell alcohol to people showing signs of extreme intoxication, despite this being illegal in the UK. In over four fifths (83.6%) of purchase attempts, bar servers sold alcohol to the pseudo-drunk actors – even though many clearly identified the actors as being drunk. We also collected data on bar environments, looking specifically at ten factors that have been associated with alcohol-related harm in previous studies: low levels of seating, loud noise, crowding, poor lighting, dirtiness, cheap drink promotions, young bar staff, young customers, rowdiness, and customer drunkenness. We found that the more of these characteristics bars had, the more likely they were to sell alcohol to drunks, with 100% of bars with 8 or more of these characteristics serving the pseudo-drunk actors. However, even in bars with none of these characteristics, two thirds of purchase attempts resulted in an alcohol sale. Having security staff managing entrance to the premises was also associated with alcohol service; possibly suggesting that bar servers in premises with door staff believe responsibility for vetting customers lies with such staff. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 10.01.2014

Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Washington University in St. Louis, MissouriMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of this study? Dr. Hartz: This is the first large-scale study to comprehensively evaluate substance use in people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other severe mental illness.We found that people with severe mental illness have rates of smoking, alcohol use, and other substance use that are 3 to 5 times higher than people in the general population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Schizophrenia / 16.12.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Matthew J. Smith PhD Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, 13th Floor, Abbott Hall, Chicago, IL 60611 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Smith: We observed that the shapes of brain structures involved in a working memory brain circuit seemed to collapse inward in a similar fashion among both of the groups that had a history of daily cannabis use. These cannabis-related changes in shape were directly related to the participants’ poor performance on working memory tasks. Some of the shape abnormalities were more severe in the group with schizophrenia and the history of daily cannabis use. We also found that participants with an earlier age of daily cannabis use had more abnormal brain shapes. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Stroke / 22.11.2013

W. Scott Burgin, MD Professor and Chief Cerebrovascular Division Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center Department of Neurology USF College of Medicine Tampa General Hospital Stroke CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: W. Scott Burgin, MD Professor and Chief, Cerebrovascular Division Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center Department of Neurology USF College of Medicine Tampa General Hospital Stroke Center. MedicalResearch.com What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Burgin: Two cases of stroke, of embolic appearance, shortly after smoking synthetic marijuana. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pharmacology, Weight Research / 02.10.2013

 Marsha A. Raebel, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP Investigator in Pharmacotherapy Institute for Health Research 10065 E. Harvard Ave Suite 300 Denver, CO 80231.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marsha A. Raebel, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP Investigator in Pharmacotherapy Institute for Health Research 10065 E. Harvard Ave Suite 300 Denver, CO 80231. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We found that in a group of patients who took chronic opioids for non-cancer pain and who underwent bariatric surgery there was greater chronic use of opioids after surgery compared with before surgery, findings that suggest the need for proactive management of chronic pain in these patients after surgery. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cocaine / 25.09.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Krishna Patel, M.S. Clinical Data Analyst Hartford Hospital|Institute of Living Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center Hartford, CT-06106 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer:  We looked at brain response to a monetary incentive delay (MID) task in current and former cocaine users compared to healthy controls using functional MRI. The task measures aspects of sensitivity to rewards and punishments. Current cocaine users showed abnormal under-activation in reward circuitry compared to healthy controls. In some of those regions former cocaine users (who had an average of 4years of abstinence from cocaine) also showed abnormalities. These former users also showed over-activation in the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain, (an important region containing dopamine cell bodies) compared to both healthy controls and current cocaine users. Current and former cocaine users also scored higher on specific impulsivity measures, compared to healthy controls. (more…)
Addiction, CMAJ, JAMA, Pharmacology, Primary Care / 19.09.2013

Richard Saitz, MD MPH Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MassachusettsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard Saitz, MD MPH Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Saitz: Chronic care management in primary care did not improve health outcomes (abstinence from cocaine, opioids or heavy drinking; or any other clinical outcomes, like addiction consequences, emergency or hospital use, health-related quality of life, addiction severity) for people with alcohol or other drug dependence. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 13.09.2013

Svetlana Popova, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Social and Epidemiological Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Assistant Professor, Epidemiology Division Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Assistant Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto Graduate Faculty Associate Member, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto CAMH, 33 Russell Street, Room # T507 Toronto Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Svetlana Popova, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Social and Epidemiological Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Assistant Professor, Epidemiology Division Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Assistant Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto Graduate Faculty Associate Member, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto CAMH, 33 Russell Street, Room # T507 Toronto Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Popova: We conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of internationally published and unpublished studies that reported the prevalence of FAS and/or FASD in all types of child care systems (e.g., orphanage, foster care, boarding school, adoption centre, or child welfare system). The primary objective was to estimate a pooled (combined) prevalence for FAS and FASD in various child care systems using data from existing studies that used an Active Case Ascertainment method (when researchers/clinicians actively seek and diagnose FASD cases). The available data was analyzed by using a standard statistical technique (called meta-analysis). This study revealed that the vast majority of existing studies report that the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the various child-care settings in the different countries is extremely high. Our analysis of these studies demonstrated that the pooled prevalence of FAS in child care settings (6%) was found to be approximately 9-30 times higher than the prevalence of FAS in the general population of North America, which is reported to range from 2 to 7 cases per 1,000 individuals in the USA and 1 per 1,000 in Canada. Thus, children in care represent a high-risk population for FASD. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Memory, Methamphetamine, Scripps / 11.09.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ph.D., Neurobiology & Behavior and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory (2005), University of California, Irvine, CaliforniaCourtney A. Miller, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Metabolism & Aging Department of Neuroscience The Scripps Research Institute Jupiter, FL 33458 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Miller: The relapse rate for drug abusers, smokers and alcoholics is high because abstinence is so difficult. A major factor is the craving that drug associations can trigger. These range from seeing the neighborhood where someone used to buy, in the case of illicit drugs, to social drinking for a smoker. We’ve found a way to disrupt these drug-associated memories without affecting other, more benign memories. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JNCI, OBGYNE / 30.08.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ying Liu, MD, PhD Instructor, Division of Public Health Sciences Department of Surgery Washington University School of Medicine 660 South Euclid Ave Campus Box 8100 St. Louis, MO 63110 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: Alcohol intake between menarche (first menstrual period) and first pregnancy was consistently associated with increased risks of breast cancer and proliferative benign breast disease. For every 10 gram/day alcohol intake (approximately a drink a day) during this specific time period, the risk for breast cancer increased by 11% and the risk for proliferative benign breast disease increased by 16%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Lancet, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurological Disorders / 24.07.2013

Professor John Zajicek Professor of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Clinical Trials & Health Research - Translational & Stratified Medicine (Peninsula Schools of Medicine and DentistrMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor John Zajicek Professor of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Clinical Trials & Health Research - Translational & Stratified Medicine (Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry) MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Prof. Zajicek: Our study investigated whether dronabinol (one of the major active ingredients of cannabis) may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis. We currently have no treatments that are effective in modifying the disease course in people with either primary or secondary MS. We did a clinical trial across the UK involving nearly 500 patients, who were randomly allocated to dronabinol or placebo, and followed them up for three years to look at progression on rates. Overall we failed to find an effect of dronabinol on disease progression,  either clinically (using a variety of clinical measures) or using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). There was a suggestion of an effect in people with the least disability (who didn't need a stick to help them walk), and there were no major problems with serious side effects.  However, over all the population that took part in the study also progressed less than we expected, which reduced our chances of finding an effect of treatment. The  study was not designed to investigate an effect on MS-related symptoms (such as pain and muscle stiffness), which have been investigated before. (more…)